New police chiefs for Newcastle and Lake Macquarie as Hunter restructure looms

TOP COP: Superintendent Brett Greentree has been named Newcastle's new police chief. Picture: Jonathan Carroll
TOP COP: Superintendent Brett Greentree has been named Newcastle's new police chief. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

NEWCASTLE City police will have a new local area commander by the end of the year.

The Newcastle Herald can reveal Superintendent John Gralton will move to the Central Coast after more than five years as the city’s top cop, with current Lake Macquarie commander Superintendent Brett Greentree named as his successor.

Brisbane Water commander Superintendent Daniel Sullivan is Lake Macquarie’s new police chief.

The shock appointments come as police propose the biggest shake-up of Hunter local area commands in two decades as part of a “re-engineering” process under Police Commissioner Mick Fuller.

Northern Region commander, Assistant Commissioner Max Mitchell, confirmed on Friday the current proposal would see the creation of new “policing districts” in the Hunter Valley, Central Hunter and Port Stephens.

Cessnock and Kurri Kurri would move to the new “Hunter Valley Policing District”, while the current Port Stephens and Central Hunter commands would be known as the “Port Stephens Hunter Policing District” under the regional model.

Northern Region commander Assistant Commissioner Max Mitchell. Picture: Marina Neil

Northern Region commander Assistant Commissioner Max Mitchell. Picture: Marina Neil

Newcastle and Lake Macquarie would remain unchanged.

Mr Mitchell said the leadership structure in the Hunter would be flatter – with a reduction of one superintendent, one crime manager and some inspectors.

He said superintendents Steve Clarke and Craig Jackson would likely head up the new policing districts if the proposal is agreed to.

All towns with a police station – Cessnock, Muswellbrook, Singleton, Maitland, Raymond Terrace and Nelson Bay – will all have an inspector as the officer-in-charge and “face of police” in the community.

Mr Mitchell said the proposed changes were designed to drive efficiencies and free up more front-line police.

“We’re still working on the proposal and we’re consulting widely,” he said. “When we finalise the proposals, they will go to the Commissioner’s office for a final determination.”

Superintendent Greentree said he was thrilled to be appointed to the new position.

“I’m really looking forward to getting a feel for the local area and build on the good work that my friend John Gralton has done,” he said.

Superintendent Gralton will head up Tuggerah Lakes. 

The appointments take effect on December 3.

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